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General Appearance: Noble and impressive: a large, powerful, heavy, well built dog, well muscled, with much substance and bone, and of solemn but kindly appearance. The Tibetan Mastiff stands well up on the pasterns, with strong, tight, cat feet, giving an alert appearance. The body is slightly longer than tall. The head is broad and impressive, with massive back skull, the eyes deep-set and almond shaped, slightly slanted, the muzzle broad and well-padded, giving a square appearance. The typical expression of the breed is one of watchfulness. The tail is well feathered and carried over the back in a single curl falling over the loin, balancing the head. The coat and heavy mane is thick, with coarse guard hair and a wooly undercoat. The tail and britches are well feathered.


The Tibetan Mastiff has been used primarily as a family and property guardian for many millennia, and is aloof and watchful of strangers, and highly protective of its people and property.

Size, Proportion, Substance
Size: Dogs - minimum of 26 inches at the withers. Bitches - minimum of 24 inches at the withers. Dogs and bitches that are more than one inch below the minimum heights to be severely faulted. Proportion: Slightly longer than tall (9-10), (i.e.,the height to length, measured from sternum to ischium should be slightly greater than the distance from withers to ground). Substance: The Tibetan Mastiff should have impressive substance, both in bone and structure, as well as strength. When dogs are judged equal in type, proportion and movement, the more substantial dog, in terms of substance and bone, not merely height, is to be given preference.

Broad, heavy and strong. Some wrinkling in maturity, extending from above eyes down to corner of mouth. A correct head and expression is essential to the breed. Expression: Noble, intelligent, watchful and aloof. Eyes: Very expressive, medium size, any shade of brown. Rims to be black except in blue/grey, blue/grey and tan dogs and brown dogs, the darkest possible shade of grey or brown. Eyes deep-set, well apart, almondshaped, and slightly slanting. Any other color or shape to be severely faulted since it detracts from the typical expression. Ears: Medium size, V-shaped, pendant, set-on high , dropping forward and hanging close to head. Raised when alert, on level with the top of the skull. The ear leather is thick, covered with soft short hair, and when measured, should reach the inner corner of the eye. Skull: Broad and large, with strongly defined occiput. Broad back skull. Stop: Deep and well defined. Muzzle: Broad, well filled and square when viewed from all sides. Proportions: Measurement from occiput to stop and stop to end of nose, equal or slightly shorter. Nose: Broad, well pigmented, with open nostrils. Black, except with blue/grey or blue/grey and tan dogs, the darkest shade of grey and brown dogs, the darkest shade of brown. Any other color to be severely faulted. Lips: Well developed, thick, with moderate flews and slightly pendulous lower lips. Bite: Complete scissor bite. Level bite acceptable. Essential that dentition fits tightly, to maintain square form of muzzle. Teeth: Canine teeth large, strong, broken teeth not to be faulted. Faults: Missing teeth, overshot, undershot bite.

Neck, Topline and Body
Neck: The neck is well muscled, moderately arched, and may have moderate dewlap. The neck, especially in dogs, is shrouded by a thick upstanding mane. Topline: Topline straight and level between withers and croup. Body: The chest is rather deep, of moderate breadth, with reasonable spring of rib. Brisket reaching to just below elbows. Underline with pronounced (but not exaggerated) tuck-up. The back is muscular with firmly muscled loin. There is no slope or angle to the croup. Tail: Medium to long, but not reaching below hock joint; well feathered. Set high on line with top of back. When alert or in motion, curled over back or to one side. Tails that are double curled or carried in an incomplete curl to be faulted.

Shoulders: Well laid back, muscular, strongly boned, with moderate angulation to match the rear angulation. Legs: Straight, with substantial bone and muscle, well covered with short, coarse hair, feathering, and with strong pasterns that have a slight slope. Feet: Cat feet. Fairly large, strong, compact, may have feathering between toes. Nails may be either black and/or white, regardless of coat color. A single dewclaw may be present on the front feet.

Hindquarters: Powerful, muscular, with all parts being moderately angulated. Seen from behind, the hind legs and stifle are parallel. The hocks are strong, well let down (approximately one-third the overall length of the leg), and perpendicular. Feet: A single or double dewclaw may be present on the rear feet. Removal of rear dewclaws, if present, optional.

In general, dogs carry noticeably more coat than bitches. The quality of the coat is of greater importance than quantity. Double-coated, with fairly long, thick coarse guard hair, with heavy soft undercoat in cold weather which becomes rather sparse in warmer months. Hair is fine but hard, straight and stand-off; never silky, curly or wavy. Heavy undercoat, when present, rather woolly. Neck and shoulders heavily coated, especially in dogs, giving mane-like appearance. Tail and britches densely coated and heavily feathered. The Tibetan Mastiff is shown naturally. Trimming is not acceptable except to provide a clean cut appearance of feet. Dogs are not to be penalized if shown with a summer coat.

Black, brown, and blue/grey, all with or without tan markings, and various shades of gold. Tan ranges from a very rich shade through a lighter color. White markings on breast and feet acceptable. Tan markings may appear at any or all of the following areas: above eyes as spots, around eyes (including spectacle markings), on each side of the muzzle, on throat, on lower part of front forelegs and extending up the inside of the forelegs, on inside of rear legs showing down the front of the stifle and broadening out to the front of the rear legs from hock to toes, on breeches, and underside of tail. Undercoat, as well as furnishings on breeches and underside of tail, may be lighter shades of the dominant color. The undercoat on black and tan dogs also may be grey or tan. Other markings such as sabling, brindling, white on other areas of the body, or large white markings, to be faulted. All other coat colors, while accepted, are to be faulted.

The gait of a Tibetan Mastiff is powerful, steady and balanced, yet at the same time, light-footed. When viewed from the side, reach and drive should indicate maximum use of the dog's moderate angulation. Back remains level and firm. Sound and powerful movement more important than speed.

The Tibetan Mastiff is a highly intelligent, independent, strong willed and rather reserved dog. He is aloof with strangers and highly protective of his charges and his property. In the ring he may exhibit reserve or lack of enthusiasm, but any sign of shyness is unacceptable and must be severely faulted as inappropriate for a guardian breed. Conversely, given its aloof nature, judges should also beware of putting a premium on showiness.

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